25th Trans. Co. tests latest field equipment

| June 3, 2011 | 0 Comments
Spc. Russell Gray (driving), motor vehicle operator, 25th Trans. Co., 524th CSSB, 45th Sust. Bde., 8th TSC, operates the PLS-A1 and E-CHU, as Spc. Brian Percy, 25th Trans. Co., 524th CSSB, 45th Sust. Bde., gives proper hand signals for the loading and unloading of a container.

Spc. Russell Gray (driving), motor vehicle operator, 25th Trans. Co., 524th CSSB, 45th Sust. Bde., 8th TSC, operates the PLS-A1 and E-CHU, as Spc. Brian Percy, 25th Trans. Co., 524th CSSB, 45th Sust. Bde., gives proper hand signals for the loading and unloading of a container.

Story and Photo by
Sgt. Phillis White
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Instructors from Honeywell Technology Solutions, Fort Drum, N.Y., came, here, to ensure that Soldiers of the 25th Transportation Company were properly trained to safely operate new equipment.

The 25th Trans. Co., part of the 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 45th Sust. Brigade, 8th Theater Sust. Command, received training on the Palletized Load System A1, or PLS-A1, and the Enhanced Container Handling Unit, or E-CHU, May 9-13, at the company’s motor pool, here.

The PLS-A1 and E-CHU support combat units, and the equipment helps with performing cross-country movement of configured loads of ammunition and other supplies loaded in containers.

The 25th Trans. Co. is only the third unit in the Army to receive the fielded equipment.

The equipment training was conducted through classroom lecture, live demonstrations and practical exercises.

“It’s going to be a lot easier for them to do their jobs. They understand how the equipment works and safety is one of the biggest things,” said Dennis Ketchum, heavy-wheel vehicle instructor, Honeywell Technology Solutions.

“(This was a) really good learning experience,” said Spc. Russell Gray, motor vehicle operator, 25th Trans. Co., 524th CSSB, 45th Sust. Bde. “The civilians are a lot more proficient … and they can teach us a lot more detail on how this equipment works without tearing it up.”

The U.S. Army has received the first batch of 11 next-generation PLS-A1 cargo vehicles.

The PLS-A is the Army’s base model, but it is being replaced by the PLS-A1.

“The main difference is the controls are positioned in different places, the turning radius is a lot better on the new trucks and they drive a whole lot better than the old ones,” Gray said. “The PLS-A1 is faster for us and the units that we are supporting.”

The new PLS features design improvements that create a more secure and robust vehicle for logistics missions with increased combat exposure.

The newly designed PLS-A1 vehicle has a Long Term Armor Strategy-compliant cab, a 600-horsepower engine and a six-speed transmission. It also uses independent suspension on the front axles, which provides greater off-road mobility and enhances protection in harsh terrain.

With the help of the E-CHU, the PLS-A1 has been designed to load and unload a variety of heavy-payload cargo, including ammunition and other critical supplies in the battlefield.

“The E-CHU eliminates the flat racks. You can just drop your load and go,” Gray said. “The E-CHU does it all. You don’t need anything else as long as you got the E-CHU.”

The PLS-A1’s hydraulic arm can load or unload containers from the truck in less than one minute, or move supplies from both truck and trailer in less than five minutes.

The truck-and-trailer combination can also haul a cargo container at full-payload capacity while climbing a 30-percent grade.

“The reason the training is so important is because, when we go downrange, the Soldiers receiving the training (here) will be the subject matter experts on the equipment and will be able to train other Soldiers on how to properly operate the vehicle,” said Sgt. Hendry Mitchell, motor vehicle operator, 25th Trans. Co., 524th CSSB, 45th Sust. Bde.

“It was like good hands-on training with the instructors right there,” Mitchell said. “We need more training like this. (We need to) have more civilians come out and actually train us with the newer equipment that the Army is bringing into the field.”

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Category: News, Training

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